How to manage your manager

If you’ve got a great boss, appreciate them. If not, look for ways to make them better for your own benefit. A struggling manager can knock your confidence and limit your potential. Try these three tips, and this vital work relationship should improve.

Get out from under the microscope

Managers micromanage because they fear you will drop the ball and make them look bad. Face the problem head-on:

  • Get to grips with your assignment quickly and get off to a strong start. Walk your manager through your plans and listen to their concerns.
  • Show your boss you care as much as they do. Keep them informed, so they’re not caught off-guard.

Then, from a position of trust, gently convince them that there is more than one way to get results.

Clear the air

Don’t let disappointments or disagreements fester.

  • First, sense-check your grievance with a trusted colleague who will tell you if you are acting unreasonably.
  • Stop apportioning blame. Consider how you both have contributed to the problem.
  • Don’t assume your boss knows what you are thinking. Find the right place and time to share how you are feeling.

Release pressure 

Lighten your manager’s mental load, and you’ll make them less temperamental.

  • Make your requests easy to action and pick the right time to ask. When you need a decision, provide two or three well-defined options.
  • Be realistic about what your manager can control. Don’t endlessly debate topics that are out of their hands.

If your boss remains toxic to you, even after you’ve tried to make them better, don’t stay too long. It’s time to move on when you start second-guessing yourself or stop speaking up.

Further reading


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